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Archive for June, 2011

Continuing on our saga to hire good candidates – here is what we are looking for. I believe this applies both for our internal hiring at both Pragna and SmartCloud companies as well as the hiring projects we undertake for our clients. Essentially there is a lot of difference between high potential hires/candidates and just another hire/candidate. Though its not always possible to hire the “high potential” ones, one can atleast try to evaluate if we have found one! There sure is a very short supply of the high potential hires which is probably the only reason why Pragna even exists.

Lets see what defines a high potential candidate (Hire)

1. Ambition – I would rate this higher than the others just from the fact that we are talking about a “high potential” hire and not just another hire. Ambition drives people to scale heights beyond their means and wild dreams. Makes the impossible possible. This is #1 for high potential hires. So, sometimes I get excited when I meet people with ambitions and sometimes have been guilty of overlooking other things :-(.

2. Ability – One could argue this should be #1 (maybe true for regular hires). This is to validate some of the  qualities/capabilities that one needs in oneself to achieve the ambitions. Some of these can be tested easily in the interview process and some probably is a gut call or a marginal call based on prior work history.

3. Agility – This is extremely important for high potential hires, that one demonstrates flexibility (especially in startup environments) and also tendency to take a step back to review/analyze, identify root causes and always to keep an open mind to change, feedback, business strategy, criticism etc. and should have openness to share thoughts and learn.

4. Achievement – If the hires/candidates have certain amount of experience, then the above must have resulted in some achievements in their careers. I would think identifying their achievements with special emphasis on the above areas would give proof points about their potential. I don’t think its right to measure this in terms of $ revenue achieved or the valuation of the company (which I have myself been guilty of in the past), but more in terms of overcoming the adversities and challenges to achieve meaningful outcomes.

Well that’s it, The four A’s to find the high potential candidates; gives me little bit more structure to the interviews I need to do at Pragna and SmartCloud.

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In the past year since we setup shop in Bengaluru, we have lots of interesting stories to share about hiring in India – sometimes funny, sometimes terrifying and in some cases depressing stories. That said, we do have a few nicer stories to tell as well. The other side though makes it for a more interesting read :-).

% of people showing up for Interview – The average must be about 50% or so after you have confirmed that they would come for sure over phone the previous day

% of people showing up on the start date – My guess is its probably in the 60% range for larger companies and 40% range for smaller companies. Most common reason is they are looking for their existing employer to match the salary; Or they are influenced by their friends, friends friends, family, size of the company, indecisiveness; Or the fear of unknown.

% of people who continue to work after 3 months: Maybe 40% range. I have seen all kinds of things happen in the past one year (below are some real reasons I have come across)

– Disappeared for 3 days; Says at hometown and my mom is not allowing me to go back (?!$#?)

– Disappeared for a day and says my girlfriend is so very sick and I cannot come back to office, am resigning immediately!

– I am having health issues and doctor asked me not to work

– Suddenly my sisters marriage is fixed and I have to leave for 1 month; might come back, not very sure!

– Best of all, one person left the laptop and email locked up (unusable) and could not reached at all!

Why? I wonder do people have to lie so blatantly and so often? I wonder if ethics and truthfulness are no longer thought in schools or at home here. Or is it the habit of their social life that’s manifesting itself in their professional life?

Anyways now for all those folks thinking of setting up shop in India, Hire three people if you need One so that the natural laws of percentages in India work out in your favor!!

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